Saturday, January 9, 2010

Slow cooker carnitas

Last night we had Tim (of YouIndie) and his lovely wife Amie over for dinner. Since I was working all day I didn't want to spend 5-8pm spazzing out in the kitchen, so I needed something that would practically make itself. Solution? Carnitas!

This obviously isn't the traditional Mexican method, but it's just as tasty. I picked up a pork shoulder from Dot's - the ONLY cut of pork you should use for carnitas. It's well marbled, but the fat just melts right off and helps flavor the meat. Last night I switched my method up a bit, and didn't like it as well as the first time, so I'll post the original recipe.

2-3 lbs pork shoulder
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
taco seasoning*
1 tsp Liquid Smoke

*I make my own, but you could just as easily use store bought. Try 2 parts chili powder, and one part of all the following: salt, cumin, onion powder & garlic powder, and maybe a dash of cayenne.

Rub the meat with the seasonings, place it on the crock pot and surround it with the salsa and water (it's easiest to mix these together first), cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
Transfer the pork and about half of it's juices to a baking dish and cook in a 300 degree oven for about an hour, allowing the edges to crisp up and the juices to soak into the meat. You don't *have* to do this step, but trust me, it's worth the extra time.

I love making tacos with it - black beans, Monterrey Jack and guacamole - and warming the filled shells for about 5 minutes in the oven to let everything meld together. However, we've also used it on nachos, in burritos, and last night, as tostadas by accident. I usually buy the Ortega Whole Grain shells, but Dot's doesn't carry them, so I had to get regular ones. Unfortunately, by the time I was 7 shells through the box of 12, the rest were broken in half. At Chez Vizz, we don't cry over broken corn shells - we make them into something else!

The photo didn't come out as well as I'd hoped. I'd had a few cocktails by this point, and apparently the camera was sharing my Sasquatch-spotting vision.


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